“I was just out for a while,” Jason said into the phone.
“You were out way too long! I knew I couldn't trust you,” replied Kelly over the phone.
“It won't happen again, I promise.”
“You've already promised. Your promises are worthless. I've had it! If this ever happens again, and I mean EVER, then we'll be done! For Good!”
Kelly's voice turned into a steady dial tone resonating over the phone. She was mad, really really mad. Ever since he had took the job at the food factory, he had gone out with the guys after work. A realization started to fester in his mind. He was twenty-four years old, he needed to get more structure in his life to make it the way he wished. He didn't want to lose Kelly, he'd hope to one day marry her and have kids. He turned his head to look out the window just behind his couch. The street was empty, just like his heart and his gut felt right now. Jason decided at that moment that he had to change, he would refrain from going out each night after work. That way his relationship wouldn't be jeopardized from his old habits.
Jason spent his day at work constantly reminding himself to go straight home. On his last break of the day, a new employee, Tim, approached Jason.
“Hey, Jase, see you at the bar later.” Tim was an older gentleman, heavy set and balding. Jason always found it odd that Tim would hang out with all the twenty-year-olds in the bar after work. He was simply the maintenance worker of the food factory Jason worked in. He must have been single and lonely to be hanging out with the young crowd.
“Sorry, Tim, I won't be going out to the bar as often as I've been.”
“You're going there tonight, aren't you?”
“No, I have to start cleaning up my act now.”
“Aw, c'mon, Just one more for the road.”
“Sorry, Tim. I'm sure Derrick and Frank will be there. Have fun.” Tim had a stern look on his face as Jason left the break room to finish up his work for the day. Jason felt a bit creeped out by Tim's reaction.
As Jason left for the day, he had a strange feeling of being followed. He turned around several times as he walked from the factory to the parking lot. Once in the parking lot, he kept looking over his shoulder. He took a roundabout path to his car, weaving in and out of rows of cars to try to discern the sensation of being followed. When he finally reached his car, he put his key in the door lock, and that was the last thing he remembered.
Jason awoke with a massive aching pain in the back of his head. He was laying on the backseat of his car. His hands and feet were duct taped together. He sat up as much as his stomach muscles would let him to see who was driving the car. It was Tim.
“Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing?” screamed Jason.
“I had to keep you from going straight home tonight. It would have been much easier if you had just gone to the bar as usual.”
“Stop this car and get me out of here, NOW!”
“I can't. I have to keep you away from your house for awhile.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“We're avoiding accidents. It's a matter of national security.”
Jason was really scared at this point. He couldn't figure out what or who Tim really was. He didn't know if he was going to live or die. He could feel his heart beating through every part of his body, from his legs and feet, through his buttocks, and into the back of his throat. Jason's clothes and and car seats became saturated in sweat. With one large pull of his stomach muscles, Jason sat up and started screaming, “HELP....HELP....HELP!”
“Shut up!” blurted Tim. “You're going to be alright. You'll be safe in a little while. I just have to keep you away from your house until a certain time.”
“Take me to my house, NOW!” Jason screamed.
Tim pulled the car off into the parking lot of an abandoned building far away from the heavily traveled roads.
“What are you going to do to me here?” cried Jason.
“We're just waiting. We're waiting until it's safe. And then Ill drive you back to your house. It's that simple.” explained Tim.
Jason was so tired he couldn't scream anymore. The pain in the back of his head was growing over his face and down the back of his spine. He sat motionless in the back seat of his own car, hands and feet secured with duct tape. He looked for a way out of the situation, but couldn't come up with a scenario in which Tim couldn't catch him. So he just sat and stared. He sat staring at Tim for over an hour.
“OK, times up. Now we take you home,” Tim said. Tim started the car up and pulled back onto the road. Jason continued to stare at Tim looking for a way to escape. Tim pulled the car back off the road. The intersection ahead was blocked off by police. Several police cars with lights flashing were parked along the street beyond the roadblock.
“OK,” Tim said tossing a small pocket knife into the back seat. “Go ahead and cut yourself free. Your house is just beyond those police cars. Just tell the officers your address. They'll do the rest.” Jason commenced cutting through the duct tape. He had been trying to find a way to get away to call the cops and here Tim had delivered him right to them. Jason was going to yell to the cops to get him away from Tim. But then again, his house was just beyond the police cars lining the side of the road. Jason decided to give in and just tell the police officers his address as Tim directed.
Tim pulled the car back out into the road and drove up to the roadblock. “Sorry sir, there's been a terrible accident. You'll have to take that road,” the officer said as he pointed to his left.
“Jason, tell the man your address.”
“I live at 455 Sterling Street. My name is Jason Whelane. I'm the home owner,” Jason stated.
“Sir, are you alright,” asked the officer. “You seem a bit placid.”
“I hit my head at work. That's why my friend is driving me home.”
The officer spoke into his microphone strapped to his shoulder and the waived to another officer. “Follow that car sir,” the officer told Tim pointing to a police car. “He'll take you to his residence.”
As they approached Jason's house, Jason couldn't believe his eyes. Three mangled cars were laying about from the middle of the road, to the side opposite Jason's house. Sticking out of Jason's house, right where the window by the couch was located, was the rear end of a tractor-trailer. The truck had plowed right into and through Jason's house. The cab had smashed through his living room, crossed completely through his bathroom, and was sticking out the back of his house.
“Oh my God, Tim, you totally saved my life,” Jason said.
“Like I said, we were avoiding accidents.”
The police car stopped and an office existed the car and approached Jason's. “Sir, we can't go any further. I need to take a statement, please.”
Jason gave the officer all the requested information. After the interview, Tim drove Jason to a nearby hotel. Tim made sure Jason had secured a room and both men went to the room to relax.
“Tim isn't your real name, is it?” asked Jason.
“No, and I can't tell you my real name.”
“You have to tell me something about yourself. I'm assuming this is the last time I'll see you.”
“Yes, you won't see me after tonight.” Tim sat up on the bed and smiled. “Jason, I'm your grandson. I'm also the current secretary of state serving the fifty-fourth president of the United States.” Jason's jaw dropped, his mouth gaping wide open “I told you, it's a matter of national security. I have to go now.” Jason leaped at the man and administered a strong bear hug. The two men said their good-byes. Tim left the hotel room, the building, and then this time in history.
While Jason lay on the hotel bed relaxing, his cell phone rang.
“Hello,” said Jason into the phone.
“Oh my God, Jason, are you alright? I'm surprised you even answered.” Kelly's voice emanated from the phone. “Where were you when the accident happened?”
“You wouldn't believe me if I told you.”
“As long as your alright. I really felt guilty when I found out your house was hit by a truck.”
“Hit? That's an understatement.”
“I want to apologize for what I said yesterday. I really need to talk to you. Can we get together sometime?”
Ken Gibbons is a factory worker from upstate New York who likes writing horror fiction. Visit his website http://www.kennystales.com.